A long and sustained peek at the year gone by makes my heart aflutter along with the numerous colorful butterflies flapping within. It also sends my mind gurgling like the rhythmic symphony of gentle waves.
I’m not going to dip into the political potpourri or churn up the economic concoctions or sip the social decoctions of 2010. I’m content to relish the varying flavors of the slice from the platter of my personal life.
Last year – 2010 – began with mixed reactions. I was due to retire in February – the agony was that I would miss the company of my students – sixteen-seventeen year-olds whose bubbly enthusiasm rubbed on to me and helped me retain my youth and verve through these years and my dear colleagues who had become my extended family. The ecstasy was that I would no longer be a slave to time – it would be the other way around!
The countdown began right from the dawn of 2010 – my last lesson for the HSC batch, my last lecture for them, my last supervision, my last bundle of papers for assessment, my very last paper…. Then I made the most of my last month at work – enjoying every minute with my students and indulging in light-hearted banter with my friends – young and not-so-young. The joy-cum-sorrow peaked on the day of my retirement.
When I came home I was like a student romping home after the last day of the examinations. Yay! I’m done – I can relax – I don’t have to wake up before 5 and make a whirl-wind rush between bedroom, bathroom and kitchen and leave for duty before 7! But my biological took time to shake off its 5am alarm! I didn’t get into the passive mode as we had to pack our bags to visit our son’s family as the stork was visiting them in April. So March was a whirlwind of activities with hectic preparations of all kinds for our six month stay in the US.
The time we boarded the flight was a very emotional one for me – it was on this date and month, precisely at this very hour a year ago that my mother had left this world. As we were flying among the clouds I knew she was blessing us from somewhere nearby.
The next four months just took off on wings! The best part of the days was spent in the company of the grandkids. Watching the newborn Sid evolve from day one – going gaga over him as he picked up skills on a daily basis was fun. But I think I had more fun with 4 year old Ritu - I would be categorically ordered by her to hand over Sid to Grandpa as it was her turn for Grandma-time once she was back from school. She found in me a perfect playmate and I was ecstatic – that made me race back 50 years to play an elder sister to her and take care of the ‘doll-daughters’ during her ‘pretend games’. I could get a glimpse of my own childhood reflected in her inherent interest in music which enabled her to belt out with gay abandon Hindi and Mallu songs she learnt from YouTube - in perfect tune and chaste lyrics though they were no less than Greek and Latin to her. She tried to teach me all about dinosaurs but I couldn’t manage to repeat their tongue-twisting names! I in turn cooked up moral stories involving imaginary students - these not only kept her enthralled but also momentarily swept off the veil of retirement. A great learning experience was tackling with kid gloves the little girl who was at times swept by the tsunami of mixed emotions of affection and jealousy for the new arrival and was learning to share mama and daddy with him.
The next two months I grew still younger when we visited our 2 1/4 year old grandson Shurik. The girlie-games gave way to boy-brand activities. So I did some ‘putting’ and ‘chipping’ in the backyard mini golf green. I managed to upgrade myself with I-pad apps – games, puzzles. I brushed my Geography, learning the countries, capitals, flags ….. with him. And yes, I got to play a role in a couple of milestones in little Shurik’s life! The first – potty-training – no thanks to diapers, the culprit complicating the process. The second – his first experience at school! When the toddler sailed smoothly through, you can imagine the pride of the parents and grandparents! So these six months provided the most memorable experiences as I got to spend quality time and quantity time with my three grandkids and provided relaxation – both mentally and emotionally.
Naturally I expected a streak of depression and loneliness to sink in on my return to Pune. But then we got buried in the pile of pending work begging for attention and action. So the next two months just swept by, don’t know how! And then came the pleasant news about another new arrival in the family by the mid 2011.The last month of the year rang in my nephew’s engagement followed by a string of weddings of friends’ children. These provided me with the much-loved opportunity of draping myself in shimmering Kanjeevarams and decking up with matching accessories – I’d call them morale-boosting, mood-lifting and radiance-spreading colorful razzle-dazzle of good cheer!
In 2010 I became more net-savvy - I joined Face Book and had the thrill of reconnecting with old friends. Another progress on my part was my blog.
I am also happy to have focused more on my health – morning walk, evening walk, 8-hour sleep, rest-at-noon, healthy diet, relaxed activities, music therapy – these have reflected well in my fitness, physique, appearance and attitude. Oh yes, 2010 was indeed benevolent with the blessing of good health which means the most for everyone. Hope the good streak will continue!© Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.